Europe & Britain | People & Stories

Embrace the spirit of the Scottish Highlands at Ledard Farm

While Scotland’s cities are beautiful to explore, there’s nothing like the setting out for the Highlands or Lowlands, passing through national parks, standing by huge lochs, and taking in stunning vistas. One of the favorite stops on our Best of Scotland trip is the historic Ledard Farm. Here the Wood family host a special Be My Guest experience, welcoming guests into their estate that dates back 1474.

Ledard means ‘high farm’ in Gaelic, and the stunning property is set on a verdant hill on the shores of Loch Ard. It borders the 20,000-acre forest of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the first designated national park in Scotland. It was here that Scottish outlaw Rob Roy came of age, and writer Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel.

Fast forward to the present and it’s the Wood family who call Ledard Farm home. The musical family love to share their talents with guests, donning Scottish Highland clothing and sharing the joys of traditional folk music with Trafalgar guests over a meal.

We caught up with Fergus Wood, who shares his personal anecdotes and insights about Scottish culture, hospitality, and the importance of experiencing the real Scotland. 

Why did you become a Be My Guest host?

It was part of the diversification of this farm. Originally we were just a sheep farm with 1000 life issues in it. And we decided to go into tourism. We met up with Trafalgar at an exhibition about 10 years ago, and we’ve been working with them ever since. And they’re our most important customer!

What three words would you use to describe this Be My Guest experience?

It’s an opportunity to meet what I call real Scotland. The Scotland of the tradition, of music, of agriculture, of hospitality – the real Scotland.

VISIT THE FARM: Best of Scotland

What’s the thing that surprises guests most about this experience?

I think what surprised us the most is the history of this place. We’re here in the bar, which was the stable in the old days, built in 1600. And the oldest building in the farm’s from 1587. We also just dined in McGregor’s barn, which was also built in 1604.

It’s the history of the place and its association with the history of Scotland, particularly the period of Rob Roy in the Jacobite rebellion.

RELATED READ: 5 intriguing historical facts about Ledard Farm

A rural landscape with a white Scottish farmhouse surrounded by autumn-colored trees and a grassy field in the foreground.

How long have guests been coming to your farm? 

They’ve been coming to our farm ever since we moved in here in 1880. But Trafalgar [guests], we’re talking about 10 years. So it’s a long and happy relationship.

How has working with Trafalgar changed your business?

Well, they’re our main customer, so it’s very important to us. And the business with them has grown. The seasons are always extending with Trafalgar, and that’s good. And we meet nice people.

What’s your favorite time of the year to host guests?

Probably the spring. The daffodils are still out, lambs are being born. It’s a bonnie time – nature’s renewing itself, and that’s a good time to be here.

If you could host anyone in the world, alive or dead? Who would it be?

Well, you know, I was watching a speech by Obama the other day on television. I was mega impressed with him. It was straight outta the heart and the mind. And I’m a great admirer of Obama and his wife’s delightful person as well. I’d love to have Obama here, and he’d enjoy it as well.

Where’s the next place you’d like to travel?

Well, I was in the army. So I’ve lived in Germany. I’ve lived in Norway, for three years. I lived in the Netherlands. The place I’d like to go to interesting, interestingly enough – and this is because of the musical situation, it’s Cuba. Cuban music. That’s the kind of music I’m into, other than the scope music we play, which is Scottish and French.

Where is the favorite place you’ve traveled?

I think the Netherlands probably, followed closely by Norway. And the reason I like the Netherlands is that you to look in the window of houses and see the plants etc. They’re very much into nature and flowers, of course. And they’re nice, interesting people, the Dutch. We have a lot of Dutch visitors here, of course,

TAKE A TOUR: Best of Holland

What is your favorite way to spend a day off to spend a day off? 

That’s a good question. Well, we’re very, very busy. So usually I fall asleep in front of the television. You know, and I’m comfortable with that. But the great thing is just having a look about the place because even though I live here, and I’ve lived here for since 1980, I still get a kick out of the views.

RELATED READ: 8 locals you’ll connect with on a European tour

What is your favorite family tradition?

Ah, round the table! Good food, good wine – my wife being of a tone extraction – and a nice dram with friends. And that’s what I enjoy most.

A serene lakeside view showcasing a reflection of trees and a solitary Scottish farmhouse amidst lush greenery.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Try to get out of bed – try being the operative word! I sleep well. I dream well. I have a great problem getting out of bed in the morning, but I get there.

What brings you the most joy?

Recently meeting my very first great grandchild, who rejoices the name of Grace or Riley – her dad is Irish. And she’s just a year old. And we had a family reunion with that all the family there – my grandchildren, my children. And that was a lovely, lovely experience. She’s a very lovely baby.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

That’s a good question. Well, they’re surprises in the army. There’s a picture of me down there. The fact that I’m into music in such a big way – music plays a very important part of my life. So I’m into music a lot. 

I’ve done a lot of things. I was the mayor of Provost of Stirling for five years. I was into politics, but I’m not into politics to any great extent now, I must admit. So people are quite surprised to hear that. They don’t think I’m the politician type – and I’m not.

So Fergus, what is your favorite drink?

My favorite drink? I would say it’s a Tuscan wine. My wife comes from Tuscany. And I really do enjoy it. And I wouldn’t call myself a winebibber but I enjoy it. Enjoy it with my meal, a nice glass of wine.

RELATED READ: Ledard Hill Farm in the Highlands of Scotland

Where’s your favorite place in Scotland? 

Favourite place? That’s a difficult question. There are so many places, whether they’re beautiful, or whether they’re historical. Because I’m a complete history buff, as my son is also, I would say Stirling Castle. The history of Stirling Castle is fascinating. And my daughter actually works there. She’s the Education Officer at the castle.

How would you sum up Scottish people in three words?

Fun-loving, which is one word, with a hyphen in the middle. Fun-loving, and with warmth.

VISIT THE FARM: Best of Scotland

Have you met Fergus Wood and visited Ledard Farm? Let us know in the comments…

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